May 2014


Justice

Justice Is Blind

Being a senior and patriotic, I’m always conflicted when summoned for jury duty. When recently called upon to fulfill my civic responsibility, I realized I’d be traveling out of the country on the date in question. My only option was to request a postponement on-line. All government business seems to be done on-line these days, or at least it seems that way.

In this case, I went on-line and filled out the request to postpone my jury date. Weeks went by with no response, and fortunately remembering this fact just prior to my departure, I tried using the old school method of contact by telephone. After wading through numerous automated phone instructions, I was actually able to get a live person on the phone. I felt like popping open a bottle of Champagne.

When I explained I had asked for a postponement many weeks ago, the clerk told me they had no record of my request. Well, what do we do now? She was actually quite nice and said she could fill out another request for me. While we were in the middle of that procedure, she abruptly shouted, “Wait a minute, here it is, I don’t know why we didn’t send it out to you before.” Problem solved, but I was still not convinced a swat team wouldn’t show up on the date in question when I didn’t appear for duty.

For the record, I am perfectly willing to serve on a jury, but my previous experience tells me I will never be selected. The last time I went to serve soured me on the whole process. It took half a day to seat the first few jurors and then we had a lunch break. After lunch, two of the previously selected jurors were looking very smug in the jury box with their baseball hats on sideways, their pants sagging down to their knees, and their heavy chains glistening under the courtroom lights.

All was well until a county sheriff walked by and saw these two role models. He went up to the bailiff and whispered something he felt the judge should know. After that exchange, the judge asked if any of the seated jurors had a criminal case pending against them. Both of the two young men raised their hands and were quickly dismissed.

The system works, sort of, I thought to myself. I was then questioned and seated in the jury box. Before my seat was warm, the prosecutor said, “Your honor, we wish to dismiss Mr. Parker.” I then joined my two new best friends in the walk of shame.

Moral of the story: If you really want to serve, dress and act like a gang member. Justice is blind, and sometimes very, very stupid.

 

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How Long Will We Live?

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How long will we live? Having made it this far into retired life, it’s probably something most of us have pondered if not discussed out loud. It’s obviously a question without any possible guaranteed answer.

In the U. S., according to a recent survey, life expectancy for all genders and races averages 81.48 years for those living in Hawaii to 75 years for those living in Mississippi. Asians typically live the longest followed by Hispanics, Caucasians, and African-Americans. But are there any factors that would help increase the chances of living even longer?

On this week’s 60 Minutes, there was an interesting segment that featured researchers who have been investigating the mystery of human longevity. Having done considerable research and writing frequently on this topic myself, I thought I would share their major findings.

First, let me tell you their study used the files taken from residents of the former Leisure World retired-living complex near San Diego, California. It also has followed up with approximately one thousand of these folks who are still living, many into their 90’s.

Here are some of the conclusions from this major ongoing study:

  1. Not surprisingly, only non-smokers have lived into their 90’s.
  2. All of those in their 90’s have exercised regularly throughout their retired life. An even more interesting finding here is that those who have lived the longest get about 45 minutes of exercise per day. More time exercising, or more strenuous exercise does not seem to be factor. Even breaking up the exercise time and activity, as long as it totals 45 minutes each day seems to work.
  3. Social activity such as clubs, game playing, or simple socialization with friends appears to be a significant factor for longevity according to this study.
  4. Surprisingly, taking vitamins has not been shown to be a factor in this study.
  5. Alcohol, in moderation (two drinks per day), has been shown to be a positive factor in longevity. The type of alcohol does not appear to matter, not even red wine over white wine.
  6. Caffeine intake, equivalent to two cups of coffee per day, has been shown to be a positive factor in longevity. The intake of more, or less, is not a positive factor.
  7. High blood pressure in older adults appears to be a positive factor. Obviously, this is not the case when a person is younger, but for older adults, it appears to be a positive.
  8. While obesity is a negative for all younger adults, maintaining one’s weight as an older person, or even gaining some additional weight has been shown to be a positive factor to one’s longevity. In this case, old and skinny is not good.
  9. While not directly addressed by the researchers on the program, some of those 90+ folks interviewed in the story contended that continuing to have sexual relations into old age was a “definite” factor. I guess we can now safely drink to that. Twice!

I want to wish all of you mothers a wonderful healthy and happy Mother’s Day!

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